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Groups representing Minnesota’s conservative Christians have released their legislative priorities for the 2015 legislative session. Both Catholics and Protestants have set their sites on Minnesota’s trans-inclusive high school athletics policy, the 2014 Safe and Supportive Schools Act, and “religious freedom.”

The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, released its legislative priorities last week. In the Archdiocese newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, MCC’s executive director Jason Adkins, “identified three topics that he said need further attention at this time from Catholics around the state.” One of them was regarding transgender inclusion:

Gender-related issues
“We have to have a proper understanding of the human person,” Adkins said. “There is a gender ideology that is getting more and more aggressive in trying to assert in public policy that gender is essentially malleable, an identity a person can choose to put on and take off at will. . . . It adds an incredible amount of confusion to who we are as persons.”
Legislation has been proposed in other places, such as the District of Columbia, that “not only advances this agenda but also undercuts or eliminates religious liberty protections,” he said. “The rational defense of our positions on the human person is vitally important for preserving religious liberty.”

The Minnesota Family Council also released its priorities which included targeting the Minnesota State High School League’s transgender-inclusive high school athletics policy it adopted late last year. MFC wrote, in part, “The League’s decision will create a serious violation of students’ basic privacy and safety rights–not to mention it defies common sense.
We are working with legislators interested in correcting the League’s poor decision.”

The Catholic Church is also pushing for a “religious freedom act.” Such an act would allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples or LGBT people based on religious belief:

Enact a Religious Freedom Protection Act. Freedoms of conscience and of religion are primary and inalienable rights of the human person. Public policy must guard religious freedom by limiting government intrusion into religious matters, allowing for reasonable collaboration between public and religious entities, and protecting the rights of private institutions and employees to serve the community. Laws should not burden the constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion absent a compelling governmental interest. (CCC: 1738;Dignitatis Humanae, 2; Christifideles Laici, 39)

MFC is also pushing a “religious freedom” bill and is more overt as to the purpose:

When the MN Legislature passed same-sex “marriage,” we warned that the religious freedom protections in the bill were woefully inadequate.
The legislators passed the bill anyway, and we were sadly proven right.
Immediately, the MN Department of Human Rights announced that it would punish business owners of faith for declining to participate in a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.
Then, ICYMI, this summer a hunting preserve owner in the Brainerd area wasforced by the government to pay for a gay couple’s wedding and reception as part of their settlement with the men for “violating the men’s human rights” by saying they could not host a same-sex wedding on their property.
Let me repeat that–the government forced a private business owner in MN to not only permit a same-sex wedding on their property, but to pay for it.
We are working with legislators to make sure this doesn’t happen to other Minnesotans. Lawmakers shouldn’t get to decide who gets the freedom to live and work according to their faith and who doesn’t.

MFC says it will also work to weaken the 2014 Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act:

Last year, the MN Legislature passed a Bullying Bill that is a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach as an unfunded mandate on schools.
And, worst of all, the law is a threat to students’ religious freedom rights (since “bullying” is defined entirely too broadly) AND the law singles out certain types of students for extra protection from bullying instead of simply protecting ALL students equally. One of those types of student groups receiving extra special protection is, you guessed it, LGBT students, since LGBT activist groups helped write this law–working closely with lawmakers.
Now, no one believes any student, including any LGBT student, should be targeted for bullying, but ALL students deserve to be protected equally under the law.
The good news is that this week, MN Representatives Pat Garofalo (58B, Farmington) and Kathy Lohmer (39B, Stillwater) introduced a bill, H.F. 102, that would return authority to local school districts, allowing them to address bullying at the district level and free them from the top-down unfunded mandate so long as they come up with their own anti-bullying policy that protects ALL students.

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